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Aneurysm support group helps people deal with new normal
Hinsdale – A support group that offers emotional support to people recovering from brain aneurysm meets monthly at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

The DuPage County Brain Aneurysm Support Group welcomes anyone in the area recovering from a brain aneurysm, as well as their families. The group meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s Tupper Hall, 119 N. Oak St.

The hospital will enter its third year of hosting the group this fall, said Kathryn Lubben, Clinical Neurovascular Nurse Practitioner at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Lubben acts as the support group’s facilitator.

The group is affiliated with The Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

“For patients that go through something like a brain hemorrhage, it is life changing,” Lubben said. “Even if you go back to work and go back to what you think of as a normal life, it’s not normal anymore.

“We provide support to people so they understand that this is the new normal for them.”

Cheryl McDonald experienced her own life-changing aneurysm in July 2012. She was visiting the Chicago-area from Chesterfield, Mo., near St. Louis. While in a hotel room with her family, a headache she had worsened until she passed out. She was taken to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and treated.

“The Hinsdale team was tremendous to our entire family,” McDonald said. “We love everybody there. We’re very grateful that’s where I ended up.”

McDonald attempted to find an aneurysm support group near her home, but could not find one that met her needs. Instead, she calls in to the Hinsdale support group when they meet.

“Having a brain aneurysm … it’s not a situation a lot of people have gone through,” she said. “Having people who can help you with something tough that you’re going through or being able to support someone else in a similar situation, it’s phenomenal.”

The after-effects of an aneurysm can range, Lubben said. Some people may experience fatigue and memory problems they never had before. Other people may not be able to walk initially. Some patients arrive at the hospital comatose, and they face a poorer prognosis.

For those who return to their daily lives, the support group can help them understand that the problems they face are not uncommon among survivors, Lubben said.

“Most patients, when they find out about the group, they’re really happy that they came,” she said.

McDonald was. When she got off the phone following her first group session, she said, she was in tears, realizing she was not alone in what she was experiencing. Today, she has gone back to working as a photographer and is adjusting the best she can.

And she plans to remain with the group for now. There are new people joining, she said. She wants to offer whatever support she can.

“What you’re going through is really scary,” she said. “To have people that can be there for you and support you, it means a lot.”

Those interested in finding out more about the Hinsdale group can call (630) 856-7525.

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, christopher.lafortune@ahss.org; (630) 856-2354



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